INTERVIEW | Tonya Barbee, author of The Little Girl Inside Owning My Role in My Own Pain

TONYA BARBEE is a novelist and aspiring playwright. Her most recent published work is titled, The Little Girl Inside Owning My Role in My Own Pain. She has just completed a short story, a collaborative effort which is to be published early year 2018 and is currently working on another project that complements her first book.

Tonya grew up in Durham, NC, a family of four daughters and one son. Her father, Woodrow served his country for twenty years as an Army officer, retired after twenty years, then taught ROTC for another twenty years and her mother, Doris, a college administrator. She is a proud 1980 graduate of Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC. She worked in operations and management for Department of Agriculture for twenty years. For the past thirteen years, she’s worked as a project manager for the Department of Defense in Washington, DC. She studied at National-Louis University where she earned her Masters in Business Administration in 2009.

Although she’s worked her way up the ladder in the federal government, she had no idea she would end up writing professionally however she has always enjoyed sharing her personal life through story telling with those she thought she could help. Then something clicked. As she writes, she is in hopes that her work inspires her readers to never give up and always keep the faith no matter how hard life seems. Her goal is to enable her readers to become empowered to keep moving forward to accomplish their dreams in spite of the challenges they are trying to overcome.

Tonya resides in Bowie, MD with two of her youngest children, Christian and Zachary. Her eldest two, Andrew and Jessica left the nest years ago and have blessed her with seven beautiful grandchildren.

How do you find time to connect with God?

Since I was a little girl, I always made time to connect God. My mother taught in kindergarten that God is the answer to everything. I would talk to God while I was on the playground. As I got older, my mother taught me the Lord’s Prayer and The 23rd Psalm. I read it so much I memorized it. She said keep it close to my heart and that God will listen to me.

As an adult, I keep my Bibles by my bedside and many devotions. I make a habit to read something in the morning and at night. Just recently, I’ve made a prayer section in my walk-in closet where I’ve included an end table beneath the window and have covered the table with candles, The Good Bible, a devotion, The Secret, and my prayer request journal. Every morning I kneel and pray to God and each night before I go to bed. Occasionally, my young son will tip toe behind me and put his hands on my shoulders and pray with me.

I know that by staying connected with God, I’m more in tuned to what He wants me to do. It’s a wonderful feeling to feel connected with God!

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

My favorite authors are: Terry McMillan, Sophie Kinsella, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, James Patterson. I enjoy so many authors. I wish I could read all day! My most favorite books are:
Waiting to Exhale; a Day Late and a Dollar Short; The Undomestic Goddess; Finding Audrey;
Power Thoughts; The Confident Woman; I Declare; and Alex Cross to name a few.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

My friends would often tell me me to re-tell the story of how me and my former husband broke up.They encouraged me to write about it. Since that was a dream of mine to write since I was a young child, I decided to do it! At the time I was asked to sing in a local play. I had mentioned to one of the actresses that my next mission would be to write. She told me her brother was a Christian publisher and gave me his contact information. I called him the following day. We talked on the phone for an hour about what I would be writing about. I hired him to help me. He was also hired to coach me through the process. My initial manuscript was over 250 pages. He suggested to me that I had too much material and that I should sequel my stories by having about four books. We went back-and-forth with this idea and decided we would focus on one specific area of my life, the most current. And ten months later, we had a book. His editor gifted me with the design of the book. She designed the cover based on how she saw me and helped me title the book as well. Then off to copyright, print, website, etc. When I received the proof in the mail, it was unbelievable! I will never forget how excited I was. When the book was then offered on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I almost lost it. It was indeed an incredible experience!

Tell us about your current book?

This book is about the love (or the misconception), betrayal and triumph. It’s for anyone who has gone through struggle after struggle trying to maintain a relationship only to realize that they have to reflect and evaluate what is going on in the inside.

Ask yourself: Why do I keep making the same mistakes? Why is it that I can’t maintain a solid relationship? Why can’t I find true love? Why do I get hurt time after time? What am I doing to deserve this? What can I do to fix this?

Sounds familiar? Well it’s time we look inward. It’s time we evaluate what we’re doing wrong so we can finally get it right.

While reading this book, you will feel the author’s journey as she continuously looks for the fairy tale relationship only to discover that there is no fairy tale relationship. You’ll see through her painful journey that sometimes you have to get through the bad relationships before you are finally able to maintain a good relationship. The author shares her story with the hopes of enabling her readers to become empowered to evaluate themselves, ask God for guidance, love on themselves and watch real love unfold. You will come to the realization that it’s not too late to get it right and live your life to the very fullest.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I had so much to cover in the book but the publisher recommended I focus on former husband because he caused me the most pain. The betrayal, the fact that he married me and was already married to someone was enough. The publisher didn’t feel I needed to write about all my troubles at that time-to focus on what was hurting me at that time. He suggested I write to heal. Bigamy was the key issue.

What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?

We so very often tend to blame others for our mistakes. It’s so much easier to play the blame game but when I realized that through all my relationships, I was the common denominator. I had to make changes to change me. I had to realize that it was I whom needed to evaluate my life, determine what I needed to do to change and when I did, my life began to change. I want readers to learn that it starts with us. We have to be courageous enough to look in the mirror and go from there.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently participating in a co-author project about testimonies that should be published in early January 2018. In the interim, I’m working on the “whole story” with the hopes that it will be have readers to stop and think are they happy and if not, this next book will make you want to get on your knees and ask God to take you on the journey of living and not stopping till you learn how to just live.

Please tell us where we can connect with you online.

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest.

There are 1 comments for this article
  1. Tonya Barbee at 10:52 am

    Hello there! I’m excited to be touring here! Thank you for allowing me the pleasure to be here at written voices blog. What a great job you’re doing and Paulette Harper. I’m now working on the sequel to the Little Girl Inside, she’s grown up now lol- and a short story as well. Both will be available in Jan! Thank you again. You are a true blessing, this is an honor! Tonya